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HUL's pioneering scholarship for women in STEM


A move towards fostering gender diversity in the realm of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

HUL CEO, Rohit Jawa, with the 5 women scholars shortlisted for 'HUL Women in STEM Fellowship'

Globally acknowledged as a challenge, the underrepresentation of women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and R&D careers has long been a concern. A staggering number of women graduates in STEM subjects tend to opt out at a later stage, leading to a gender imbalance in the scientific community.

According to the Department of Science & Technology, from 2019-2020, women accounted for only 16.6% of those directly engaged in R&D activities in India.

While a weak pipeline continues to be a contributing factor towards the staggered numbers of women in R&D jobs, some other key factors that lead to this dismal number are the lack of mentors, unconscious biases, and added household responsibilities.

With the launch of HUL’s women in STEM fellowship we are taking a step forward towards fostering a more inclusive and diverse scientific community.

About HUL’s Women in STEM Fellowship

The HUL Women in STEM Fellowship has been set up to support women scientists from leading Indian institutes pursuing their PhDs in STEM areas aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The first edition of the Fellowship has been announced in partnership with the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore. Five extraordinary women scholars from the institute were chosen for the award, through a rigorous selection process by an independent committee at IISc.

This Fellowship stands out for its comprehensive approach to address the challenges faced by women pursuing STEM careers. The program offers a financial award, benchmarked against the prestigious Prime Minister's Research Fellowship (PMRF), covering the entire five-year duration of the PhD program. This financial support is not only in the form of a monthly stipend but can also be utilised for research grants, travel, and attending international conferences related to the scholars' research fields.

Enabling mentorship opportunities

Beyond the financial support, the Fellowship incorporates a crucial element often lacking in STEM career growth for women – mentorship. Throughout their PhD journey, the Fellows will have access to senior mentors from both Unilever and HUL's External Ecosystem. These Fellows will continue to work on their research proposals at IISc and will have the opportunity to engage with HUL scientists on an ongoing basis.

We believe this multi-year fellowship will catalyse transformative change, inspiring the next generation of top Indian women scientists, engineers, and innovators in our country.

Rohit Jawa, CEO & MD, Hindustan Unilever Limited
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